The University of Vermont is considering getting rid of its geology department. If they do they will be the only state university in the country without this program.
Professors and students are not sure why the program may be cut considering the geology departments classes, which contribute to UVM’s ranking as the third greenest school in the nation.
It has been more than two months since this was proposed and no plans have been settled yet.
Either way, students are concerned.
“Vermont to stand out as the only state university in the country that wouldn’t have a geology program I think would just be astounding,” Jason Drebber said.
Students like Jason Drebber study topics ranging from soil and groundwater contamination to waste management, even earthquake preparedness to climate change.
“Issues with pollution and groundwater just won’t get assessed and if we don’t understand those issues, we will never be able to manage for them,” Drebber said.
Drebber said this program has impacted his life.
“Now I can go outside anywhere and I see the world differently, so I am able to enjoy being outside more since I understand it,” Drebber said.
The six renowned geology faculty members have raised a collective $19 million dollars for their research. Professor of Geology and Natural Resources, Paul Bierman has two words to describe how he feels.
“Surprised, devastated,” Bierman said.
Bierman believes the department is solving the day to day environmental problems that people care about.
“Without both the student and faculty expertise, I don’t know whos going to pick up the phone when the city engineer calls and says I need to talk to a geologist about this landslide,” Bierman said.
Dean Falls said the reason for possibly ending the program is because there aren’t enough undergrads in the major.
“And we’re not the only geology department to see a fall in undergraduate majors, it’s a trend around the country,” Bierman said.
If they lose the program, Bierman believes it will affect the state.
“If you take away geoscience, you take away the bedrock of studying the environment, and I mean that as a pun but it’s true,” Bierman said.
Students have made a petition in hopes to keep the program.